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November 2021

Holocaust survivors' perspectives on the euthanasia debate

Author(s): Rettig, K. D., Miles, S. H.

Journal/Book: Soc Sci Med. 1999; 48: the Boulevard Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford Ox5 1GB, England. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 185-196.

Abstract: The paper reports on a qualitative analysis of 15 personal interviews with holocaust survivors in Israel concerning their perceptions of similarities and differences between socially-assisted dying and the holocaust policies. The design of the study was exploratory/descriptive and asked the following questions:''Some discussions have expressed similarities between Nazi Germany and euthanasia. Do you believe the comparison is justified? In what ways are euthanasia and the holocaust similar? In what ways are they different?'' Participants concluded that profound differences existed between Nazi Germany and socially assisted dying. These differences were established from four different perspectives in 10 different themes, and demonstrated by 24 different examples of the themes. Informants further cautioned philosophers about comparisons between the holocaust and other human behaviors. The survivors perceived that such a comparison has negative consequences for their own well-being, the dignity of their family members, the next generation and the Israeli society.

Note: Article Leichtentritt RD, Tel Aviv Univ, Bob Shapell Sch Social Work, IL-69978 Tel Aviv, ISRAEL

Keyword(s): holocaust; euthanasia; slippery slope argument; Israel; socially assisted dying

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